Can You Put a GIF in a Video?

By Kevin Lee

A dash of animated GIF fun can liven up a video.
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Since the Web has a seemingly unlimited supply of free animated GIFs, you might as well use some of them to enhance your video project. Find an amusing cat GIF, for instance, and you can insert it into an existing video if you have software that can perform that task.

Animated GIF Basics

Animated GIFs look like movies because computers display a sequence of images rapidly just as movie projectors do. When your eye sees these images, it looks like objects are moving. Videos also consist of images called frames that video editing programs display when you watch a video. You don't need special software to view an animated GIF. Simply press your browser's "Ctrl-O" keys to display your computer's files and double-click an animated GIF file to view it in the browser.

Use Screen Capture

Screen capture programs, such as oCam and CamStudio, enable you to capture anything that happens on your screen and save it as a video. You can use one of these programs to create a video from your animated GIF. Do that by launching your screen capture program and opening an animated GIF in your browser. Most screen capture programs enable you to draw a rectangle around the area you wish to capture. Use your mouse to draw a rectangle around the GIF and you can click the program's "Record" button to begin recording. Stop recording after a few seconds and you'll be able to save what you captured as a video file. Use your video editing program to insert that file anywhere you like in a video.

Use Animated GIF Editor

Download a program such as GIF-Animator or Easy GIF Animator, and you can use it to save an animated GIF as a video file. The program's help document will show you how to do that. An added benefit comes from being able to edit GIFs to make them appear any way you like before saving them as video files that you can import into your video editor.

Windows Movie Maker

If you use Windows Vista, it comes with an older version of Windows Movie Maker has the unique ability to import animated GIF files. Simply click "Import Pictures" and double-click one of your animated GIF files to add it to the media collection. You can then drag the GIF down to the timeline to embed it in your video. You cannot do this using the Windows Movie Maker program that you add to Windows 8 as part of the Windows Essentials package.


When shopping for screen capture programs, ensure that the one you pick has the ability to save videos that you produce in a format your video editing program supports. For instance, if the capture program only saves files in FLV format and your video editor only works with AVI files, you won't be able to add an animated GIF video that you've saved as an FLV to a video you're working on in your video editor.